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Publication numberUS6918796 B2
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 10/188,348
Publication dateJul 19, 2005
Filing dateJul 1, 2002
Priority dateJan 11, 1999
Fee statusPaid
Also published asCA2360798A1, CA2360798C, CA2646467A1, CA2646467C, CA2714849A1, CA2714849C, CN1190086C, CN1340276A, DE60036855D1, DE60036855T2, EP1142348A1, EP1142348B1, EP1858265A2, US6468112, US6964588, US7220150, US7381100, US7766701, US8216004, US20030008568, US20030119385, US20060029354, US20070249237, US20090091909, US20100315800, WO2000042780A1
Publication number10188348, 188348, US 6918796 B2, US 6918796B2, US-B2-6918796, US6918796 B2, US6918796B2
InventorsDouglas G. Elliot, David Coppock, Cindy S. Walters
Original AssigneeAdc Telecommunications, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Vertical cable management system with ribcage structure
US 6918796 B2
Abstract
A cable management system (20) is provided including a rack (22) for holding telecommunications equipment (24), and a ribcage cable support member (60) along a vertical side of the rack. The ribcage cable support member includes a plurality of forwardly and rearwardly extending ribs (116, 118). The ribs each include cable retention tabs (124). A plurality of spools (70) are provided for cable storage on the ribcage cable support member. Holes (82) through the ribcage cable support member allow access between the front and rear portions. An additional rack may be positioned on an opposite side of the ribcage cable support member to the first rack, and two columns of ribs are provided. Resilient plastic edge protectors (150) may be fitted onto the ribs (119). The ribs may be shaped to provide integral edge protection.
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Claims(10)
1. A cable management device for use with a telecommunications equipment mounting fixture, the cable management device comprising:
a generally planar spine section extending in a longitudinal direction and including a plurality of mounting holes each for receipt of a fastener to mount the planar spine section to the mounting fixture;
first and second sets of ribs extending from the planar spine section in opposite transverse directions, each opposite transverse direction transverse to the longitudinal direction, each rib having a main portion extending parallel to the planar spine section and transversely to the longitudinal direction, wherein the main portion of each rib has a U-shape convex along the transverse direction and facing in the same direction as a face of the planar spine section;
wherein the planar spine section and the first and second sets of the ribs are made from sheet metal, and the first and second sets of ribs define aligned ribs on each side of the planar spine section, wherein at least a portion of the planar spine section and at least two aligned ribs, one rib from each of the first and second sets, are formed from a single piece of sheet metal, wherein a proximal end of each rib connecting the main portion to the planar spine section is shaped at a first bend so that a side of the main portion of each rib opposite the U-shape does not extend beyond the planar spine section.
2. The device of claim 1, wherein each rib of the first set of ribs has a tab on a distal end of the main portion extending transversely to the main portion.
3. The device of claim 2, wherein each rib of the second set of ribs has a tab on a distal end of the main portion extending transversely to the main portion.
4. The device of claim 2, wherein each rib of the first set of ribs has an intermediate portion extending from the distal end of the main portion to the tab at a non-perpendicular angle to the planar spine section and the transverse direction.
5. The device of claim 1 wherein a distal end of each rib includes a second bend in an opposite direction to the first bend.
6. A cable management system comprising:
a) a mounting fixture including a base, and two upwardly extending side supports configured and arranged for holding telecommunications equipment having cable connection locations, the mounting fixture further having a front, a rear, and a side; and
b) a ribcage cable support member mounted to the mounting fixture and positioned along the side, the ribcage cable support member including:
1) a middle support having a front, a rear, and two sides, the middle support including:
A) a plurality of spools positioned on the front, wherein each spool includes a cable support extending from the front and a cable retention member spaced from the front; and
B) a plurality of holes between the front and the rear; and
2) two columns of spaced-apart ribs on each side, each column of ribs including a first set of ribs extending transversely away from the middle support on the front, and a second set of ribs extending transversely away from the middle support on the rear, each rib including a main portion with an end distal from the middle support, wherein first and second cable positioning chambers on opposite sides of the middle support are defined by the middle support and the two columns of spaced apart ribs, wherein the ribs are made of sheet metal, and the first and second sets of ribs define aligned ribs on each side of the middle support, wherein the aligned ribs are made from a single piece of sheet metal having a center mounting section attached to the side of the middle support and including at least one rib from each of the first and second sets of ribs, wherein the main portion of each rib includes a rounded shape convex toward the middle support, wherein a proximal end of each rib connecting the main portion to the center mounting section is shaped at a first bend so that a side of each main portion of each rib opposite the cable positioning chamber does not extend beyond an outer surface of the center mounting section opposite the middle support.
7. The system of claim 6, wherein each of the ribs of the first sets includes a cable retention tab on a distal end extending transversely to the main portion.
8. The system of claim 7, wherein each of the ribs of the second sets includes a cable retention tab on a distal end extending transversely to the main portion.
9. The system of claim 7, wherein each of the ribs of the first sets includes an intermediate portion extending from the distal end of the main portion to the cable retention tab at a non-perpendicular angle to the main portion, and extending from the main portion of the rib toward the middle support.
10. The system of claim 6, wherein a distal end of each rib includes a second bend in an opposite direction to the first bend.
Description

This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/228,343, filed Jan. 11, 1999, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,468,112 the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to cable management systems for telecommunications cables.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Suppliers and users of structured connectivity communications systems in local area networks often have difficulty managing the cabling and demarcation and patching points such as in communications closets and computer rooms. Here, large numbers of data, voice, and video communications circuits, cables and connectors may be concentrated into small areas on relay racks and in communications cabinets resulting in congestion of cabling and connectors. In the past, connectivity systems attempted to ease the congestion of cabling and connectors by integrating cable management devices within and around the racks and cabinets. In the connectivity industry, horizontal cable management devices may be provided between each row of patch panels. As a result, applications with a high number of network connections or circuits must generally double the amount of racks and floor space needed in order to accommodate the horizontal management devices for cable management. Minimizing the space consumed by the cable management systems, and managing the cable in an efficient manner are desired.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One aspect of the present invention relates to a cable management system including a rack and a ribcage cable support member. The rack includes a base, and two upwardly extending side supports configured and arranged for holding telecommunications equipment having cable connection locations. The rack further has a front, a rear, and a vertical side. The ribcage cable support member is mounted to the rack along the vertical side. The ribcage cable support member includes a middle support having a front, a rear, and two sides. The middle support includes a plurality of spools positioned on the front, and a plurality of holes between the front and the rear. Two columns of spaced-apart ribs are on each side of the middle support. Each column of ribs includes a first set of ribs extending transversely away from the middle support on the front, and a second set of ribs extending transversely away from the middle support on the rear. Each rib further includes a cable retention tab, where each cable retention tab extends generally toward the ribs of the corresponding set in the other column. First and second cable positioning chambers on opposite sides of the middle support are defined by the middle support and the two columns of spaced art ribs.

A further aspect of the present invention relates to a cable management device for use with a telecommunications equipment rack. The cable management device includes a generally planar spine section extending in a longitudinal direction, and mounting holes for receipt of fasteners to mount the planar spine section to the rack. First and second sets of ribs extend from the planar spine section in opposite directions, each opposite direction transverse to the longitudinal direction. Each rib has a main portion extending parallel to the planar spine section and transversely to the longitudinal direction. Each rib further has a tab on an end of the main portion extending transversely to the main portion. The tabs of each of the first and second sets of ribs extend in the same general direction so as to define a U-shaped device along the longitudinal direction.

Another aspect of the present invention relates to a cable management device for use with a telecommunications equipment rack. The cable management device includes a generally planar spine section extending in a longitudinal direction, and mounting holes for receipt of fasteners to mount the planar spine section to the rack. First and second sets of ribs extend from the planar spine section in opposite directions, each opposite direction transverse to the longitudinal direction. Each rib has a main portion extending parallel to the planar spine section and transversely to the longitudinal direction, the main portion shaped in a manner to provide edge protection to cables and wires passing between the ribs. An intermediate portion is located at the distal end of the main portion. At least one of the sets of ribs includes a tab at the end of the intermediate portion extending transversely to the main portion.

A still further aspect of the present invention relates to a cable management system including a rack and a ribcage cable support member. The rack includes a base, and two upwardly extending side supports configured and arranged for holding telecommunications equipment having cable connection locations. The rack further has a front, a rear, and a vertical side. The ribcage cable support member is mounted to the rack along the vertical side. The ribcage cable support member includes a middle support having a front, a rear, and two sides. The middle support includes a plurality of spools positioned on the front, and a plurality of holes between the front and the rear. Two columns of spaced-apart ribs are on each side of the middle support. Each column of ribs includes a first set of ribs extending transversely away from the middle support on the front, and a second set of ribs extending transversely away from the middle support on the rear. Each rib further includes a main portion which is shaped to provide edge protection for cables or wires passing over the main portion and an intermediate portion located at a distal end of the main portion. At least one of the sets of ribs includes cable retention tab located at a distal end of the intermediate portion, where each cable retention tab extends generally toward the ribs of the corresponding set in the other column. First and second cable positioning chambers on opposite sides of the middle support are defined by the middle support and the two columns of spaced art ribs.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of one embodiment of a cable management system in accordance with the present invention, including two racks with two patch panels in one of the racks, and a vertical cable management assembly positioned between the two racks.

FIG. 2 is a rear perspective view of the cable management system of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an exploded front perspective view of the cable management system of FIG. 1 without the patch panels;

FIG. 4 is an exploded rear perspective view of the cable management system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a front view of the cable management system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is a top view of the cable management system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6A is a front perspective view of the cable management system of FIG. 1, with open hinged covers mounted.

FIG. 6B is a top view of the cable management system of FIG. 6A with the hinged covers closed.

FIG. 7 is a right side view of the cable management system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 8 is a rear view of the cable management system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 9 is a front view of one of the ribcage members used in the cable management system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 10 is a right side view of the ribcage member of FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is a top view of the ribcage member of FIG. 9;

FIG. 12 is a front perspective view of one of the cable spools used in the cable management system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 13 is a rear perspective view of the cable spool shown in FIG. 12;

FIG. 14 is a first perspective view of one of the edge protectors used in the cable management system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 15 is a further perspective view of the edge protector of FIG. 14;

FIG. 16 is an enlarged view of the patch panels and a portion of one of the racks of FIG. 1;

FIG. 17 is a rear view of the patch panels and the portion of the rack shown in FIG. 16;

FIG. 18 is a right side view of an alternative embodiment of a ribcage member suitable for use with the cable management system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 19 is a top view of the ribcage member of FIG. 18;

FIG. 20 is a front view of the ribcage member of FIG. 18;

FIG. 21 is a right side view of a second alternative embodiment of a ribcage member suitable for use with the cable management system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 22 is a top view of the ribcage member of FIG. 21;

FIG. 23 is a front view of the ribcage member of FIG. 21;

FIG. 24 is a cross-section view of a rib taken along line 2424 in FIG. 18;

FIG. 25 is a front perspective view of an alternative cable spool for use with the cable management system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 26 is a side view of the cable spool of FIG. 25;

FIG. 27 is a cross-sectional view of the cable spool of FIG. 25 taken along line 2727 in FIG. 2;

FIG. 28 is a front view of the cable spool of FIG. 25; and

FIG. 29 is a top view of the cable spool of FIG. 25.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The cable management systems of the present invention allow for management of cable in and around telecommunications equipment racks and cabinets. The telecommunications cable may be fiber optic-based, copper-based, and combinations thereof. The cable management system maintains and directs cables connected to the telecommunications equipment.

Referring now to the figures, one preferred embodiment of a cable management system 20 is shown including two vertical racks 22 configured and arranged for holding telecommunications equipment, such as a patch panel 24. Two patch panels 24 are shown in one of the racks 22. However, it is to be appreciated that additional patch panels 24, and other telecommunications connectivity equipment or cable management devices may be mounted to each of racks 22.

Each rack 22 includes a base 26, a top 28, and two side supports 30, 32 extending therebetween. Each side support 30, 32 includes a plurality of front and rear holes 34 for receiving fasteners to mount the telecommunications equipment to each rack 22. Side supports 30, 32 each generally define a U-shape and include side holes 36 for mounting to other racks, or in the case of the present invention, for mounting to a ribcage cable support member 60. Cable management system 20 generally defines an X-axis 100, a Y-axis 102, and a Z-axis 104. The side supports 30, 32 extend vertically in the direction of the Y-axis 102. The front and rear of system 20 face in the direction of the Z-axis 104. Ribcage cable support member 60 cooperates with racks 22 to vertically manage cable running to and from the equipment held by each rack 22. Typically, each cable connects to the respective piece of equipment, and the cable length travels horizontally to the nearest ribcage cable support member 60 where the cable length is supported and/or held in the desired position and directed for the distal end to be connected at another connection site.

Referring now to FIGS. 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 16 and 17, patch panel 24 is an example of one type of telecommunications equipment mountable to racks 22. Patch panel 24 includes opposed flanges 40 defining holes 42 for receipt of fasteners 44. A front 46 of patch panel 24 defines a plurality of front connection locations 48 including a plurality of sockets 49 for receiving a connector plug of a copper-based patch cord or other telecommunications cable. A rear 50 of patch panel 24 includes a plurality of rear connection locations 52, such as insulation displacement connectors 53 for connecting to copper-based telecommunications cable. The connection locations 48, 52 are arranged in rows in patch panels 24. Patch panel 24 is the subject of U.S. Ser. No. 09/092,545, filed Jun. 5, 1998, the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference.

Ribcage cable support member 60 is shown positioned between two racks 22. Additional ribcage cable support members 60 can be positioned on the other ends of racks 22 along the X-axis 100, and between additional racks 22, if provided. Ribcage cable support member 60 includes a middle support 61 and two opposed columns of ribs 63 extending forwardly and rearwardly. Ribcage cable support member 60 of the illustrated preferred embodiment includes a central U-channel 62 including two side sections 64, and a middle section 66. Each side section 64 includes a plurality of holes 68 for receipt of a fastener 69.

Referring now to FIGS. 1, 3, 5, 6, 12 and 13, U-channel 62 includes a plurality of spools 70 for use in cable management, such as for storing excess lengths of cable. Each spool 70 in the illustrated preferred embodiment includes two supports, having legs 74 which are held by fasteners 76 to middle section 66 of U-channel 62. Each spool 70 further includes a cable retention flange 78 spaced from main middle section 66. Other spools are possible for cable storage.

Middle section 66 of U-channel 62 further preferably includes a plurality of openings 82 to allow for cable to pass between a front to a rear of ribcage cable support member 60. It is to be appreciated that any number of spools 70 can be provided, as well as any number of openings 82, as desired. In addition, the positioning of spools 70 and openings 82 can be varied as desired for particular cable management situations. For example, no spools 70 are provided in a lower portion of middle section 66. In the illustrated embodiment, spools 70 can be provided on the back of middle section 66 if desired.

To facilitate ease of manufacture, U-channel 62 can be made from identical upper and lower portions 84, 86. See FIGS. 3, 4, 5 and 8. Notches 88 are provided on mating ends 90 of upper and lower portions 84, 86. U-channel 62 may be made from various materials, including sheet metal or molded materials.

Ribcage cable support member 60 further includes two ribcage members 110, 112 positioned on opposite sides of middle section 66. Each ribcage member 110, 112 includes a central spine 114, and first and second sets 116, 118 of ribs 119 extending in opposite directions. First set 116 of ribs extends outwardly from spine 114 in the front. Second set 118 extends rearwardly from spine 114 in the opposite direction. Between each of the individual ribs 119 are spaces 120 for receipt of one or more cables. Distal ends 122 of each rib 119 include a tab 124 extending at an angle to both the rest of the rib, and to direction of extension of the columns of ribs. Main portion 121 of each rib extends in the direction of the Z-axis 104, and tabs 124 extend at an angle toward the other set of ribs in a plane defined by the X-axis 100 and the Y-axis 102. As shown in the example embodiment, tabs 124 can extend at an angle upwardly or downwardly. While main portion 121 of each rib 119 extends horizontally in the preferred embodiment, cable positioned in space 120 tends not to fall out or slide out during handling of other cables due to the angled extension of tabs 124.

Each ribcage member 110, 112 includes openings 126 for receipt of fasteners 69 so as to facilitate assembly with U-channel 62 and racks 22. To facilitate manufacture, it is preferred that ribcage members 110, 112 are identical and that each be made from identical upper and lower portions 130, 132. See FIGS. 3, 4 and 9-11. Notches 134 are provided at mating ends 136.

As shown in FIG. 6, ribcage cable support member 60 defines a front cable chamber 140, and a rear cable chamber 142. Cable enters and exits each of chambers 140, 142 in spaces 120 between ribs 119, or at upper or lower ends 144, 146 of ribcage cable support member 60. Also, cable can pass between chambers 140, 142 through openings 82.

Also as shown in FIG. 6, an intermediate portion 125 of ribcage member 119 is at an end of main portion 121 distal central spine 114. Tab 124 extends from an end of intermediate portion 125 opposite main portion 121. Intermediate portion 125 is at an angle with respect to both tab 124 and main portion 121. As shown intermediate portion 125 is angled approximately forty-five degrees from both tab 124 and main portion 121. As shown in co-pending application Ser. No. 09/764,479, filed Jan. 17, 2001, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference, and in FIGS. 6A and 6B, intermediate portion 125 may serve as the attachment point for hinges 131 mounting a pivoting cover 133 to ribcage members 119 to cover cables within chambers 140 and 142. Hinges 131 are releasably mounted to intermediate portions 125 with a snap-fit connection.

Hinges 131 are adapted to selectively engage cover 133 so that cover 133 may be hinged open from either side. Hinges 131 include a base which attaches to intermediate portion 125 and a spring catch which releasably engages opening 135 of cover 133. Hinges 131 permit access to the ribs 119 on either side while providing protection to wires or cables within chambers 140 and 142.

Ribcage members 110, 112 can be stamped from metal, and bent to the configuration shown. Alternatively, ribcage members 110, 112 can be made from molded materials. To assist with protection of the cables, especially fiber optic cables, and copper cables susceptible to damage from being cut and/or being bent beyond a minimum bend radius, resilient plastic edge protectors 150 are provided on ribs 119, and also supports 72 of spools 70. Each edge protector 150 includes opposed snaps 152, opposed stops 153 and a radius cable protection portion 154. Each edge protector 150 can be conveniently snapped on to rib 119 or support 72. A further edge protector 160 is positioned around the edge of openings 82 of U-channel 62. If ribcage members 110, 112 are made from molded materials, the edge protectors 150 can be molded integrally with them, if desired.

Referring now to FIGS. 18 through 20, alternatively, a ribcage member 212 may include a main portion 221 which may be stamped or otherwise formed from sheet metal into a U-shape to serve as an integral edge protector. To allow this integral edge protection shape and still permit ribcage member to be mounted flush against a vertical rack 22, inner end 200 of main portion 221 is bent inward toward chambers 140 and 142. In this way, no element of main portion 221 extends beyond a plane 222 defined by an outer wall of central spine 114.

An additional alternative embodiment ribcage member 312 is shown in FIGS. 21 through 24. On the front side of ribcage member 312, ribcage members 219 with integral edge protection main portions 221 extend from central spine 114. From the rear of central spine 114, ribcage members 319 with integral edge protection main portions 321 and intermediate portions 125 extend. Tab 124 is not included on ribcage members 319 to improve access into chamber 142 to insert, remove and organize cables extending to and from telecommunications equipment in vertical racks 22. Inner ends 200 of both ribcage members 219 and 319 are bent inward into chambers 140 and 142 to prevent any element of the ribcage members from extending beyond plane 222. Similarly, a distal end 201 of main portion 221 and 321 extends out to plane 222 before rib 219 and 319, respectively, transition into intermediate portion 125, so that intermediate portion 125 does not protrude excessively into chamber 140 or 142.

FIG. 24 shows a cross-section of rib 219, illustrating the integral edge protection shape of main portion 221, including a concave surface 223 and a convex surface 225. Surface 225 provides the edge protection to wires or cables passing through and managed by ribcage cable support member 60 which incorporates ribcage members 212 or 312.

Referring now to FIGS. 25 through 29, an alternative embodiment cable spool 170 is shown. Cable spool 170 provides the same functions as cable spool 70 in conjunction with edge protectors 150, described above, but is molded from plastic or a similar material. Cable spool 170 includes a cable retention flange 78 and a mounting base 174 including openings 75 through which fasteners 76 may be extended for mounting cable spool 170 to middle section 66. Extending between base 174 and flange 78 is a center portion 172 including integral edge protection surfaces 176.

It is intended in the following description that ribcage members 212 and 312 may be used interchangeably with ribcage member 112 with edge protectors 150. Further, wherever ribs 119 are mentioned, ribs 219 and 319 can also be used within the scope of the present invention.

In use, cable extends from a front of patch panel 24 generally horizontally to a space 120 between ribs 119 and into front chamber 140. The cable is supported and managed by ribcage cable support member 60 where the cable may be: (1) wrapped around one or more spools 72, (2) passed through opening 82, (3) passed through upper or lower ends 144, 146, or (4) positioned back in a space 120 between ribs 119 to a desired patch panel 24, or other telecommunications equipment for connection to the equipment. Cable at the rear of patch panel 24 also extends generally horizontally to rear chamber 142 where ribcage cable support member 60 supports the cable at one of the ribs 119 at the rear where the cable is allowed to be directed toward the distal end connection site in a similar manner as the front cables.

In the preferred system, a rib 119 is advantageously positioned vertically adjacent to each row of connection locations on the front and/or the rear of the equipment in the racks 22. The ribs 119 offer support for each cable entering and exiting rack 22 at the particular height for connection to the connection locations of the telecommunications equipment. In that type of use, should it be desirable to later remove a cable from a space 120, access is convenient since only the cables from one row of connection locations are typically positioned in that space 120. The use of the individual ribs for each row of connection locations allows for the racks 22 to include a higher density of connection locations by avoiding or reducing the use of horizontal cable management devices between the equipment in each rack if desired.

Having described the present invention in a preferred embodiment, modifications and equivalents may occur to one skilled in the art. It is intended that such modifications and equivalents shall be included within the scope of the claims which are appended hereto.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification439/719, 385/135, 439/894
International ClassificationH01R9/22, G02B6/36, H04Q1/06, H02G1/06, H04Q1/14, H02G3/00
Cooperative ClassificationH04Q1/13, H04Q1/066, H04Q2201/02, G02B6/4452, H04Q1/062, H02G3/26, H01R9/2416
European ClassificationG02B6/44C8A4, H01R9/24C, H04Q1/14, H02G3/26, H04Q1/06
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